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Moscow Official Responds To Complaint With Photoshop

  • Anna Shamanska

Photos from Moscow's mayoral portal "Our City." When a resident sent a picture (left) complaining that a trashcan had gone missing, a city official replied three days later saying the garbage can had been reinstalled and included another photo (right) to prove it. It appears however, that he simply sent an enlarged and retouched version of the original image submitted by the complainant.

Photos from Moscow's mayoral portal "Our City." When a resident sent a picture (left) complaining that a trashcan had gone missing, a city official replied three days later saying the garbage can had been reinstalled and included another photo (right) to prove it. It appears however, that he simply sent an enlarged and retouched version of the original image submitted by the complainant.

Moscow officials have recently demonstrated how modern technology can help them maintain city infrastructure -- with Photoshop.

On March 7, Voykovsky district resident Maria Lavrova filed a complaint with Our City, the official mayoral portal. She attached a photo of the outside of her apartment building saying that a trashcan installed a week prior was now missing.

After three days, an official responded to the complaint. "The management organization installed a trashcan at the indicated address," wrote Nikolai Kargin, acting head of the Voykovsky district.

He attached a photo to prove it.

What appears however, is simply an enlarged and retouched version of the picture submitted by Lavrova. A trashcan has been added in, apparently with the help of photo-editing software.

It is unclear if the authorities did actually install a trashcan, and simply used the photo for illustrative purposes. When contacted by RFE/RL's Current Time TV, a person who picked up the phone in Kargin's office refused to "share information" about the use of Photoshop or similar software on the website, or whether the trashcan had actually been replaced. She said the acting head is currently on vacation.

This would not be the first time Moscow officials have turned to altered images to address residents’ complaints. In 2013, the Moscow Orekhovo-Borisovo Severnoye district council head was fired after using retouched photos as proof that snow had been removed from district streets.

Local resident and blogger Yury Ursu had used the Our City portal to request that something be done about the snow. But as he later pointed out on his blog, where he published before-and-after photos, along with the snow someone had Photoshopped out graffiti reading: "Death to meat!"

About This Blog

Using regional media and the reporting of Current Time TV's wide network of correspondents, Anna Shamanska will tell stories about people and society you are unlikely to read anywhere else.

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